Category Archives: Home Buyer Tips

1BR Condos a Good Bet for First-Time Home Buyers

A one-bedroom condo—especially one with a den or office area—is an excellent option for first-time home buyers. This type of property truly exemplifies the concept of getting your foot in the door of San Francisco real estate, and aiming to build equity with the goal of trading up in a few years.

The average price of a one-bedroom condo citywide is $876,707 (based on sales from July 1-Sept 30, 2021). If your price range is under $1M, targeting conveniently located one bedrooms is the way to go.

There are currently 242 one bedrooms on the market, so you have plenty to choose from. The one bedrooms that will have the best chance of appreciating have parking, on-site laundry, a good location near retail and public transit and HOA dues that aren’t excessively high. I set out to find some properties that meet this criteria and which I think are well worth considering at the moment. Continue Reading

What You Need To Know About Rentbacks

A “rentback” in real estate is when the sellers stay in the property for an agreed-upon period of time after the close of escrow. The reason sellers typically need rentbacks is because they need the proceeds from their sale in order to purchase their next home.

I am not a big fan of rentbacks, because most buyers want to gain possession of their new home after they close, for a variety of reasons. But if you’re considering requesting or granting a rentback, here are a few important things to know before you agree to one:

1. Execute and sign a “Seller in Possession” addendum. This is also called a rentback agreement, and it specifies all the details of the rentback. These include the length of time the seller can remain at the property after the closing date, whether the seller will pay the buyer a fee to stay in the property and who will pay utility costs during the rentback period.

2. Consult an attorney before you agree to let the seller remain in the property. A rentback technically is a form of tenancy, and things can get complicated if the rentback is more than 30 days. Most sellers don’t have intentions to keep hanging out indefinitely, but it’s a wise idea to avoid those scenarios. I recommend limiting the rentback to 29 days. Continue Reading

5 Ways To Think Outside the House-Hunting Box

Home buyers usually have a wish list for the property type and neighborhood in which they want to be—and a budget that may not allow for all the amenities.

I learned long ago that part of my job as a real estate agent is to help clients think outside the box when it comes to getting what they want within their budget.

To give you a feel for what I’m talking about, here are five things that are typically on home buyer wish lists—and the trade-offs you can consider to get you the functionality and central location that will work for you:

1. A house with a private yard. We’ll call this the San Francisco dream. But the reality is that single-family homes in areas like the Inner Sunset, Noe Valley, West Portal or Mission Dolores, for example, are typically well above $2M. However, there’s one property type that can get you the privacy and outdoor space you need—a condo with exclusive-use outdoor space such as a deeded yard or roof deck. Continue Reading

Sunset and Parkside Command Top Dollar

Sunset and Parkside Command Top Dollar

Buyers continue to snap up homes in the west part of the city at a rapid pace, a trend that started as far back as 2016 but has picked up speed ever since.

Sales in the Sunset and Parkside escalated during Covid as the need for private space and yards increased. The average two-bedroom house in the Sunset/Parkside is now $1.6M, with three bedrooms clocking in at $1,741,000. Continue Reading

Make Sure You Have Enough Dwelling Insurance Coverage

Wildfire season is an unfortunate reminder of how important it is to carry sufficient dwelling insurance on your home. Many homeowners often discover that they don’t have sufficient insurance coverage to cover rebuilding costs. In fact, more than half of homes across the United States are underinsured by 21%. I’d like to make sure my readers aren’t among those in that category.

Your dwelling insurance is the centerpiece of your policy. The coverage amount represents how much it would cost to rebuild your home. In San Francisco—and probably The Bay Area in general—we’re looking at $500 per square foot in average construction costs. So a 1,500-square foot single-family home should technically have a total of $750,000 in dwelling coverage. Continue Reading

Great Time To Buy a BMR Condo

Great Time To Buy a BMR Condo

It’s an opportune moment to purchase a below-market rate (BMR) condo, as competition is slim and inventory available.

The San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development offers first-time home buyers a below-marke trate (BMR) condo program that spans a variety of neighborhoods. The benefit? Pay a mortgage instead of rent, and build a bit of equity.

The program has strict eligibility requirements, and typically involves a lottery for each available condo. However, the SF population exodus over the past year has narrowed down the BMR buyer pool. So there’s a number of “First Come, First Served” listings for which you can apply once approved. Continue Reading

Here’s Your Mid-2021 Bernal Heights Microhood Report

Here’s Your Mid-2021 Bernal Heights Microhood Report

Bernal Heights is having a banner year in 2021 so far. The ever-popular neighborhood and its eight microhoods have seen competitive offer situations, overbidding and lots of turnover in this Covid era as buyers aim to move into single-family homes with more privacy and outdoor space.

The Northwest Slope and Precita Parks have had the highest median prices, with South of Cortland coming in third. And inventory has jumped West of Mission to meet buyer demand.

It’s high time for a microhood update. As my regular readers know, I created the Bernal Heights microhoods back in 2014 to help prospective buyers and sellers get a more refined sense for single-family home values in the neighborhood’s distinct geographical areas. Many Realtors have decided to use the microhood concept in their marketing without crediting me, so if you want to work with the authentic microhood creator, please get in touch with me at 415.823.4656 | eileen@insidesfre.com.

Here’s how our microhoods stacked up in the first half of 2021 (click on each pic to enlarge, red dots represent homes sold):

1. Northwest Slope
Single-Family Home Median Price: $2,000,000
Most Expensive: 128 Elsie (4BR/4.5BA new construction | $4,000,000)
Least Expensive: 13 Eugenia (2BR/1BA 1148 sq ft, no pkg | $1,450,000)
# Homes Sold: 12
# Overbids Above 20%: 1

The Northwest Slope saw most homes sell for over the list price, which was especially true in the case of the 3BR/2BA home at 252 Elsie. The peaked-roof Victorian with no garage was listed for $1,398,000 and sold for $1,820,000—30% over asking. Continue Reading

What You’ll Need To Get Loan Preapproval

If you’re intending to purchase a property in 2021, it’s important to note what documentation you’ll need to provide to the lender in order to get loan approval.

Many prospective buyers cringe at the thought of pulling together reams of receipts, paystubs, and W-2s. But if you start doing that now, you’ll be ready to go in the event you stumble upon that perfect condo in  South Beach. Continue Reading

Open Houses Return in San Francisco (!)

I’m happy to report that San Francisco Realtors can once again host public open houses.

Our local Realtor Association announced late last week that we can resume holding opens for the first time since March 2020. We’re required to follow Covid safety protocol that requires all entrants to review and sign an Open House and Showing Guidelines disclosure, which also requires providing basic contact information. Additionally, everyone must still wear masks, use hand sanitizer, practice social distancing and avoid touching surfaces in a property. Continue Reading

Feng Shui for San Francisco Real Estate

Feng Shui for San Francisco Real Estate

Feng shui is a guiding principle for many San Francisco home buyers. The Chinese words “feng” and “shui” translate to mean “wind” and “water,” respectively. This concept derived from an ancient poem that talks about human life being connected and flowing with the environment around it.

If you’re buying or selling a home, it’s a good idea to be aware of what elements constitute unfavorable feng shui. There are some things you can’t change that add up to bad feng shui, such as location. But there are other things that you can alter when it comes to interior design and staging. Continue Reading

Budget for HOA Dues During Loan Preapproval

You’re thinking about buying a condo in San Francisco, and the first thing on your checklist is loan preapproval. Along with mortgage payments and property taxes, your lender tells you that you need a rough idea of how much your homeowners association dues (HOA) will be. But you don’t know what you’ll be buying, so how are you supposed to know how much the dues will be? Continue Reading

Contact Eileen for Real Estate Help

Eileen Bermingham

Corcoran Global Living

415.823.4656

eileen@insidesfre.com

DRE# 01352627

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